Unusual Southwest Airlines diverting techniques on Dec 8


#1

With the mishap at Midway, Southwest has sent many of it’s flights on to their final destinations. However, one flight that was going from Las Vegas was diverted over Colorado and is being sent to Tucson.


#2

Southwest 2920 is doing that today. It normally goes Phoenix-Midway-Manchester (NH) but is instead flying nonstop PHX-MHT, bypassing Chicago-Midway entirely. The weather map seems to indicate some bad weather around there, and if I were Southwest I’d be overflying MDW too. Unknown is how many people aboard today’s flight 2920 were headed to MDW versus MHT. If the MHT load was > 50% then is that what they do? And then send the MDW people back the other way the next morning?


#3

I see that SWA2920 was diverted today from MDW to MHT. Wouldn’t it have been more reasonable to divert to the Southwest gates in Indianapolis and then bus passengers to Chicago? It sure would get them home faster (and probably cheaper for the airline). I see that IND was in full operation at the time SWA2920 would have landed there.

Alternatively, perhaps MDW passengers were off-loaded in PHX for a PHX/IND flight and SWA2920 contained only MHT-bound passengers.


#4

Alternatively, perhaps MDW passengers were off-loaded in PHX for a PHX/IND flight and SWA2920 contained only MHT-bound passengers.

Right. That’s if they knew they weren’t going to stop at MDW at all. Unknown is whether the decision to bypass MDW was made before departure or while aloft. If you look at the trajectory (is that the right word?) of 2920 today, you’ll see the slightest jog as she approached Chicago…the inference possibly being that the plan was to go to MDW all along but was changed once the plane neared Chicago. Only a guess on my part.

MHT has been lobbying Southwest to start a nonstop to Phoenix (we already have one daily to Las Vegas). Clearly there were enough Manchester-bound passengers to make the run worthwhile today. And Southwest runs a few nonstops from here to Midway, so if they did have to get Chicago-bound passengers back to Chicago, it would be easy to do…either this evening or (more likely) tomorrow morning. However, MHT has very high load factors. I don’t see there being a whole bunch of available seats on the next MHT-MDW flight to give to those diverted passengers. So I’m not sure what they do.


#5

They may have departed PHX/MHT on the original MDW flight plan and received an updated clearance en route.

Who knows? It’s all speculation.